Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc says he was forced to push like he has "rarely pushed before" during his "hard but fair" fight with Red Bull rival Max Verstappen in Saudi Arabia.
Leclerc snatched the lead from pole-sitter Sergio Perez during a mid-race Safety Car period but was hunted down and passed by Verstappen during the final laps.
"It was [smart racing], but it wasn't enough [to win] today," said Leclerc. "But my god, I really enjoyed that race!
"We are on a street track and we've been pushing like I've rarely pushed before, to the absolute limit.
"We took risks at the end, so there is respect, but I'm a bit disappointed."
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Leclerc: Every race should be like this!
The two drivers traded places multiple times during the late stages, just as they did in Bahrain a week prior for the season's opening round.
Leclerc was, at first, the car fighting to stay ahead, before Verstappen completed his overtake with five laps to go, turning the tables and leaving the Monegasque needing to pull off a last-gasp move – but he was unable to get it done.
He continued: "It's hard racing, but fair – every race it should be like this! I'm, of course, disappointed. I wanted to win today.
"I think we had two very different configurations between Max, Checo [Perez] and both the Ferraris.
"We were quite quick in the corners, but slow on the straights, so it was extremely difficult for me to cover Max on the straights. But he did a great job and it was a fun race."
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